RUBEN NAVARRETTE JR.: Biden’s immigration plan is a sin against the soul of America
Even in these sharply divided times, there are still a few things the political parties have in common.
Like, for instance, being completely outmatched by the complexities of the immigration issue. Republicans and Democrats both tend to be insincere, inept and inexact whenever they tackle the subject. They misrepresent facts, embrace simple solutions and put their own interests before the public good. They propose harebrained schemes that don’t work, and when the schemes fall apart, they instinctively blame the other party.
Recently, President Joe Biden unveiled his administration’s latest plan for alleviating the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
And not a moment too soon. From September 2021 to September 2022, more than 2.2 million unauthorized migrants were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol.
The keywords to the Biden plan are “expand” and “expedite.” The president wants to expand his authority to deport many of those seeking asylum and expedite the process so it all takes place before they even get a hearing. Specifically, Biden wants to limit migration from four countries in particular for which he seems to have little fondness: Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Haiti. Under the plan, those countries would get a total allotment of 30,000 visas per month — to be divided among the countries.
The Biden plan is probably illegal, or at least is likely to be challenged in court: Anyone entering the United States has the right to apply for asylum under U.S. law and international agreements. It’s also a sin against humanity and an insult to one of our nation’s most valuable operating philosophies.
This is the message that Biden is sending the four countries: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free — and I’ll give them a one-way ticket to Ciudad Juárez.
Of course, if you’re coming from Ukraine or Russia or some other country that is not on Biden’s hit list, then feel free to come on in and roll the dice in the asylum process. For you, the United States is still open for business.
This plan plays favorites. It is one ugly baby, and there is no question who the father is. It’s all Biden.
When it comes to how this administration deals with the immigration issue, ugly is par for the course.
For the past two years, the president has recycled the repugnant immigration policies of Donald Trump. Ironically, the Democrat campaigned for the White House on the promise that he would terminate some of these same initiatives if he were elected. But by the time Biden made it to the Oval Office and surveyed the chaotic situation on the border, Trump’s hard-line approach obviously looked more appealing.
Personally, what I find a tad more appealing is an earlier version of Biden.
In February 2020, while running for president, Biden made a feeble attempt to atone for the sins of an administration in which he served as vice president. During an interview with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, Biden was asked about the Obama administration’s record-setting number of deportations over the course of eight years. The candidate reluctantly conceded that it was a “big mistake” to remove all those folks, including hundreds of thousands who had no criminal records — despite the claims from the Obama White House that only criminals were being deported.
“We took far too long to get it right,” Biden told Ramos.
Guess what. It has been nearly three years since that interview, and Biden — who is now president — still can’t get immigration right. In fact, he is busy making a whole new set of mistakes.
Biden also told Ramos that he planned to bolster the asylum process. Instead, once in office, the Democrat short-circuited that process — if you’re unlucky enough to be from the wrong country.
Finally, Biden scoffed at the idea advanced by many Republicans that there is no more room at the inn.
“This is a big country,” Biden told Ramos. He rejected the idea “that we can’t accommodate more people in the interest of the United States” and noted that “legal as well as undocumented immigrants” contribute to the U.S. economy.
“We stand up and act like (immigration) is a burden,” Biden said. “It is not a burden. It’s a gift.”
That is 100 percent correct. Of course, that was the old Joe. The new Joe wants to return the gift.
Ruben Navarrette’s email address is email@example.com. His podcast, “Ruben in the Center,” is available through every podcast app.